This child just keeps on growing. Eight months. How?
Big important thing to report this month? PORTER IS SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT. This is by *far* the earliest any of my children have learned to sleep and it is a glorious, glorious occasion. Hallelujah.
This milestone didn't just happen magically like I had hoped and it certainly took a little concentrated effort on our parts. Meaning, we bit the bullet and joined the sleep training camp. And it worked, go figure! I've received several emails asking for details on the sleep training plan that we used and I don't mind sharing a bit here, but it's fairly regimented and specific. And it's pretty much a version of crying it out but thankfully Porter didn't lose his mind during this program like Cecelia did on the solitary night we (sort of) attempted sleep training with her. I do not remember anything about Truman and sleep training but I know that both of my babies who nursed didn't sleep through the night until one year or beyond. And I didn't have the heart to do much about the sleep deprivation because I wanted to maintain that nursing relationship, and if they needed to nurse for comfort at night then FINE, twist my arm. This time with Porter? Nope. I've always said that if he wasn't going to nurse then he at least needed to gift me with some sleep. I mean, the kid is a tank and drinks 30 ounces of formula a day plus three meals of solids. So I finally felt empowered to teach our third child to sleep in the name of sanity for all involved.
The most important part of our success with sleeping is that we always lay Porter down when he is awake. No more rocking him to sleep or letting him pass out with a bottle in his mouth. Nap times are on a set schedule (read: our lives are absolutely dictated by nap schedules at the moment). Porter wakes for the day around 6:30 or 7:00, naps for about 30 minutes at 9:00, then for 2-3 hours around 1:00, and bedtime is at 7:00 or 7:30. Which means he sleeps for 11 or 12 hours straight (!!!) and has a solid nap at the same time as his big sister. Like I said, GLORIOUS.
It took two nights of 'work' to teach Porter that he does not, in fact, need a bottle in the middle of the night. He was waking up twice or three times a night and would only fall back to sleep if we rocked him and gave a bottle. Those two nights when we went for it and let him cry a bit don't seem horrible looking back. I know when he was awake for 50 minutes the first night and then almost two hours the second night, I really struggled to not feel like a horrible mother refusing him his beloved bottles. But he would mostly just fuss and talk and wiggle around without full blown hysterics. He did not approve of the 'check in' method when I'd send Nate in there to pat Porter on the back, tell him it was time for bed, and NOT pick him up. So I stared at him on the video monitor and didn't sleep well myself, but the pay off for uninterrupted sleep in this house has been very much worth a tough two nights.
Porter figured out how to soothe himself back to sleep without a bottle and somehow he also stopped using a pacifier around this time. I think that was more due to teething but he started spitting out the pacifier and refused it every time we offered. So we stopped offering! Hilarious that Porter got rid of his pacifier before his sister, who is nearly three years old. Yikes.
Now Porter just needs his sleep sack, his ducky lovey blanket, white noise and a dark room to sleep. I will sing to him while rocking a bit after his night time bottle, and also before naps. I'll kiss his forehead hundreds of times and simply lay him down awake, sometimes he will talk a bit before falling asleep but mostly he just passes out. Why do sleeping babies somehow seem even more adorable and lovable than when they hate to sleep? Just when I thought I couldn't love him any more than I already do, he goes and sleeps through the night. My baby. <3
So yes, he is sleeping at eight months. He also cut his first two teeth and they are precious little nubs at the moment, siblings are concerned that his teeth aren't big enough for real food. But Porter proves to his skeptics that he can take down anything we present to him as if he had a full set of chompers. In fact, he is back to despising baby food although I'll still offer it twice daily. We are going down more of a Baby Led Weaning path with P just because he wants finger foods so badly, and it really is easier to plop down a bunch of options in front of him and let him go to town.
Feeding him is ridiculously messy, though, and I sort of forgot that nightly baths are a must with new eaters. Henry has to go into his crate when Porter eats because the frequency at which the kid throws or drops food on the ground is comical. And yet his list of favorite foods is pretty astounding: bananas, avocado, chunks of baked sweet potatoes, whole green beans, sliced apples, sliced pears, blueberries, deli turkey, string cheese, English muffins, bagels, frozen waffles, pizza crust, graham crackers, and those super healthy cheesy poofs by Gerber. Seriously the kid could eat an entire can of them. He also likes Baby Mum Mums, puffs, and yogurt melts for the processed baby food variety. In two stellar parenting moments this month, Porter got his first taste of cupcakes and also McDonald's ice cream cones. Both were gigantic hits as you can imagine and his squeals combined with laughing and hand gestures show me that he probably inherited his parents' love for dessert. He still does the disgustingly adorable wringing of the hands motion when he is excited or mad----opens and closes his hands, circles his fists all around, and kind of shakes his arms up and down like he just cannot contain himself. This activity happens frequently when he is in his high chair and he spots some of our tasty 'big people' food.
But besides food, Porter still has a love affair with his formula bottles. He will usually drink about 30 ounces in a day, with a six ounce bottle at 7, 10, 12:30, 4, and 7. The coolest milestone regarding bottles is that P can now lay on his back and hold his own bottle while he drinks. Very helpful when I'm doing all three bedtimes alone, dear Porter! Cecelia also prefers to sit on the couch with her baby brother, holding his bottle for him. Such a helper, that Cecelia.
This is when I'll mention that Porter is obsessed with Truman and Cecelia. His face lights up with the biggest grin when he sees them and he'll stare at their shenanigans in awe most of the day. My favorite is when T or C give him hugs and kisses unprompted and then Porter looks over at me like, 'Did you see that, ma? They like me!' Watching the three of them together melts me like nothing else and those sweet sibling moments make the constant chaos of three small children worth it times a million. I love watching them interact and catch myself daydreaming about their future relationships between each other. Both Truman and Cecelia will likely want to protect their baby brother but I wonder if Porter will someday tower over us all?
He wears 12 month clothes, size 4 diapers, and weighs about 20 pounds. He's larger than Cecelia was at this age and sometimes I think his head already passes hers in size. It's a matter of time before he outweighs her, and it's entertaining to watch petite little CC hold the giant man baby. But Porter is still smaller than Fatty McGee Truman was at eight months, for sure. He's rolly polly but not a Sumo wrestler baby, either. Basically perfect;)
Porter has become quite vocal this month, babbling things like 'Ma Ma Ma' and 'Da Da Da' and 'Ba Ba Ba'. He has this really cute 'GAH!' that he will say over and over inquisitively, like he is trying to figure out what a certain toy is supposed to do for him. He'll laugh and squeal and chat to us when he is happy. And when he is tired or hungry, he will whine his babbles in the sweetest way. He is just such a happy, vocal baby though. I can't wait until he actually calls me 'Mama' and Nate 'Dada'. Right now all of his sounds seem to be totally random yet still surprisingly thrilling.
But P does seem to recognize faces he knows, and although he won't cry if someone strange holds our boy, he will give them a very stern look of concern. He absolutely prefers mommy in the evenings when he is tired and if he spots me across a room, he will almost always start to fuss until I hold him. I try to be sneaky and stay out of his line of sight but once he discovers I'm nearby and not carrying him around, it's usually game over until I oblige. I sort of love it;)
Motor control is improving each day and he can now be trusted to sit up unsupported alone for at least 10 minutes at a time or more. I've started putting a basket full of toys in front of him, tipped on it's side so he can dig inside, and he will sit there going through the items for a long time. If we put him on his back on the play yard or a blanket, he will usually roll onto his tummy to play in that position. Sometimes he gets stuck on his stomach and gets a little angry about it, which is especially adorable. He will stand up on our laps if we support him and sometimes he likes to actually jump in his jumperoo. Everything goes into his mouth, he's grabbing anything that he can reach with a strong preference for strings on my hoodies, zippers, necklaces, and of course any food on our table. He's come very close to pulling down my entire dinner plate when he sits on my lap, since he does like his high chair but usually ends up sitting on me by the end of a meal.
Porter loves being outdoors and rides in the stroller more often than the Ergo at this point. He seems especially social and doesn't mind the craziness of the playground after school, Truman's wild birthday party full of loud big kids, and he does fantastic at Lori's house. He's a people watcher and an observer and I can see him being a cautious little buddy, just like Truman has always been. I definitely think the two boys resemble each other like whah, but Porter and CC have the same big blue eyes. And P might be getting reddish hair which is fun to imagine!
My goodness, I love this child so much. He is just a joy.
(written and posted from MEXICO, while mommy and daddy are away on a kids-free vacation. Makes me miss this little bugger to write all about him, but I know he and his siblings are in great hands with the grandparents while we lounge in the sun. Can't wait to kiss those cheeks though!)